Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Biathlon
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Biathlon

Erin Crowell - December 6th, 2010
Biathlon, By Golly! Hot shots combine skiing and target shooting at Crystal Mountain
By Erin Crowell
Cross country skiing. It’s a wonderland excursion, swooshing through the white woods on a freshly groomed trail – breathing with the rhythm of every push and glide, silence enveloping…then suddenly… pop! pop! pop!
Screams, laughter and a paint-plastered target.
It may not be the intense, competitive sport we saw in Vancouver this past winter, but the new biathlon course at Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa has all the same elements – just substitute bullets with paintballs and medals with high fives.
Happening every Sunday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., participants can strap on a pair of cross country skis or snowshoes and test their marksmanship skills by shooting at a group of targets via paintball marker while walking or skiing along an off-road trail.
“We don’t like to use the word gun,” says Janice Davidson, recreation manager at Crystal Mountain, explaining the terminology behind “marker.”
A set of paintball markers are stationed at each target: five circles on a vertically-propped board, set off at different points along the looped trail. One loop takes approximately one hour to complete, says Davidson, who adds that the course is not intended to be a race.

SKI & SHOOT
Long before the first organized biathlon competition in Norway in 1776 (then called patrol races), people have been combining skiing and shooting -- since around 3000 B.C., when the technique was used for hunting purposes. Rock paintings depicting hunters with bow and arrow on sliding timber have been found near Roedoey, Norway; and writings describing the technique date back to Roman, Greek and Chinese historical writings.
From there, it transformed into a means of warfare – with military patrols popping up throughout the Middle Ages. By the end of the 19th Century, several countries including Germany and Switzerland had soldiers on skis.
It wasn’t until 1960 when the sport made its first Olympic appearance, which was then a team competition. Instead of the light .22 rifles, athletes shot with a Winchester Model 70s large Army rifle caliber. The targets: cardboard.
The sport gained momentum in 1992 when it was broadcast live on television during the winter Olympics and included a category for women.
A lot has changed in biathlon, but it still remains a fairly ambiguous sport to the general population – making it a truly unique winter activity.

FUN FOR ALL
“This is for anyone who enjoys paintball and wants to shoot at some targets or just enjoy a family friendly activity,” says Davidson. “You just need to be eight years or older to shoot the marker.”
Because the course is not timed, participants do not have to feel rushed. A two hour reservation block allots ample time to focus on target accuracy and completion of the course.
This summer, Crystal Mountain invested in a paintball course. Davidson says they worked closely with TC Paintball of Traverse City in setting up the course and acquiring the necessary equipment.
“We wanted to expand upon that,” says Davidson. “With the success of this summer, we decided to offer (paintball) as a weekly activity. We have the equipment in hand now, and we have everything to facilitate it.”
The biathlon course at Crystal Mountain combines two sports, each from a Michigan season, into an activity that anyone can try. It’s one more addition to a variety of off-hill amenities offered at the resort, which include everything from dog sledding and surrey rides to ice skate lessons and family bonfires.
“Just come out and do it,” says Davidson. “Even if we don’t have much snow this year—which we will—you can always walk the course.”

Writer Erin Crowell is a part-time employee in the recreation department at Crystal Mountain. The Crystal Mountain paintball biathlon course is open every Sunday, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., with advanced reservations required. Please allow 24 hours to reserve your spot. Cost is $25 and includes paintball equipment, two-hour snowshoe or cross-country ski rental and trail pass. Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa is located off US-31 at 12500 Crystal Mountain Dr. in Thompsonville. Visit crystalmountain.com for details or call 800-968-7686 ext. 7000.
 
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